Fiorentina defender Dario Dainelli says the players always had faith they would improve on last season.

The Viola were the subject of protests and criticism after selling Felipe Melo to Juventus, bringing in Marco Marchionni and Cristiano Zanetti.

But have since qualified for the Champions League knockouts and Dainelli said: "We are better than last season, but then we had no doubts about that.

"We knew that by making very few, pointed changes, the team would benefit from them."

Teammate Manuel Pasqual agreed that Cesare Prandelli's men can no longer be considered a surprise.

"Now we are a real fixture in Italy and Europe. As far as I am concerned, I have to shoot down these reports that I want to leave Florence.

"I am happy here, I get to play in the Champions League for a big club and cannot ask for more. Besides, I only recently renewed my contract until 2012 and see no reason to quit."